We asked the experts how best to clean our homes during a viral outbreak. After they taught us the proper technique (above), we had a few more questions:
How often should I do this?
Every day. (In between regular cleanings.)
Will wipes work?
Yes. Look for sprays or wipes that promise to kill 99.9 percent of germs.
What if I don’t have cleaning sprays or wipes?
Washing with soapy water should do the trick: a few drops of dish soap to eight ounces of water. Although soap and water will not kill all germs, scrubbing with soapy water should be effective in removing coronavirus and other germs from surfaces.
What’s a high-touch surface?
All those places where you and your family leave a million fingerprints every day. (Clean bathroom surfaces last.)
• Door knobs
• Light switches
• Refrigerator and microwave doors
• Drawer pulls
• TV remote
• Counters and table tops where you cook and eat
• Toilet handles
• Faucet handles
How thorough do I have to be?
A spray and a vigorous wipe should do it, but don’t get lazy here: You want to be sure you’ve gotten all the way around the doorknobs, for example.
“I try not to be neurotic about it,” says Dr. Kryssie Woods, hospital epidemiologist and medical director of infection prevention at Mount Sinai West in New York. “But wash your hands when you get home, and try to clean some of those high-touch areas. That’s good advice even without the coronavirus.”
Do I need to wear gloves?
Gloves are recommended for home cleaning, but if that’s not practical, just be sure to wash your hands before and after you clean.
If I’m using gloves, do I really have to wash the gloves afterward?
Yes, if you’re going to reuse them. (Use separate gloves for the bathroom and the dishes.)
Once you’re done cleaning:
• Wash your gloved hands with soap and water.
• Dry them.
• Pull the gloves off and store them.
• Then wash your bare hands.
How else can I be sure my home stays clean?
When you get home, take off your shoes, hang up your coat and immediately go wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water.
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